UK Watchdog Will Not Probe Metropolitan Police Over 10 Downing Street Christmas Party
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), a police watchdog group for England and Wales, said it will not investigate a complaint over Scotland Yard’s handling of allegations that a 2020 Christmas party that took place in 10 Downing Street, London, broke Covid protocols.
The IOPC said the complaint, brought by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb, was “invalid” because the baroness was neither close to nor personally present when police officers allegedly failed to enforce Covid rules.
They also added that she had not been “adversely affected” by police officer failures. The IOPC’s final conclusion was that it was up to the Metropolitan Police to decide whether to pursue the matter.
An IOPC spokesperson added
, "If evidence were to come to light that anyone serving with the police may have breached standards of professional behaviour or committed a criminal offence, linked to the alleged party, we have reminded the Metropolitan Police of its obligations to refer relevant matters to us, irrespective of whether or not a valid complaint has been made."
The incident in question is an alleged party that broke Covid protocols on December 18, 2020, at 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the First Lord of Treasury and the headquarters of the government of the United Kingdom.
The party, along with multiple social gatherings that occurred from November 2020 through December 2020, came to light at the end of November 2021 and sparked outrage as the preeminent facility of the UK government was used for parties and social gatherings as the country was in lockdown.
At the time of the alleged parties, government guidance said work Christmas lunches or parties were not allowed. The string of parties at 10 Downing Street have embroiled UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in controversy.
After deeper scrutiny, the baroness wrote to the IOPC on December 6 alleging that police were involved in an alleged December 18, 2020 Christmas party.
Jones wrote in her letter, “Put very simply, if there was an unlawful gathering taking place at No10 Downing Street, then the police must have known, and were highly likely to have played an active part in organising or facilitating the illegal gathering.”
She would go on to allege that the Metropolitan Police’s refusal to investigate the incident was “a potential cover-up."